Tuesday, December 30, 2014

MS as metabolic disorder, and diet

Welcome, all those who found their way here from Dr Terry Wahls' Facebook mention of my post on the metabolic hypothesis of MS from three years ago. 

Two brief clarifications about Dr Corthals' paper:

  1. It does not say that the immune system is not involved in MS—it is—but that the root of the problem is in the metabolism of lipids.
  2. It does not suggest that all animal fat is bad or that changing one's diet will cure any individual's MS.
In my opinion, diet will not cure anyone of multiple sclerosis. But I do think that it's a vital part of our MS treatment.

My diet, which is eccentric and tailored to my individual food sensitivities, is neither perfect nor medically supervised:
  • low on carbohydrates (I avoid grains, for example—especially corn/maize—and only eat very high (85%) cocoa chocolate which is relatively low in sucrose, and then only once a day, and only a bit, immediately after lunch)
  • very low on dairy (butter and cream are for high days and holidays only; I'm super sensitive to cultured dairy—cheese, sour cream, yoghurt—and so never touch it)
  • very low on legumes and pulses
  • low on fruit (I eat a bit of apple in salad, and berries sometimes after dinner—always fresh, never dried—and I avoid those fruits I know I'm sensitive to: bananas, strawberries, melons etc)
  • eggs less than once a day (I have no sensitivity, but lots of people do)
  • very low on omega-6 containing foods
  • very high on omega-3 containing foods (I make sure they're also low in omega-6)
  • high on animal protein—grass-fed rather than grain-fed (lamb and beef), or free-range (chickens that eat insects etc rather than grains) or wild (salmon, trout, mackerel)
  • high on leafy vegetables (cabbage and brussel sprouts, cauliflower, salad greens)
  • high on brightly-coloured starchy vegetables (carrots, rutabaga, beets)
  • zero high-fructose corn syrup
  • zero nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, peppers etc)—this is a personal sensitivity and may or may not apply to you
  • two cups of caffeinated tea (no milk, no sugar) a day
  • lots of herb teas (and one decaffeinated Irish breakfast tea after dinner)
  • beer and wine before dinner every day, usually in very moderate amounts
Everyone tells me that this last is a Very Bad Idea for someone with MS. I'm sure they're right. Every now and again I spend a few weeks without alcohol, and it's, y'know, okay, but I'm simply happier when I'm able to drink. So that's my vice.

Generally, if I have to have sugar, I privilege sucrose over fructose (and in terms of fruit, the whole is better than juice). I aim for an overwhelming omega-3 to omega-6 ratio. And I avoid nightshades. 

I eat three meals a day. When I snack, I try to eat nuts (macadamia when I can get them, pistachio otherwise—raw, or home roasted).

I'll talk about exercise and dietary supplements and pharmaceutical treatment another time.
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